Many property owners in Delaware would like to obtain an easement on a neighbor’s property so they can legally use of a portion of the property for their own purposes. Most easements are affirmative, meaning that they allow the easement holder to do something. An affirmative easement may allow a property owner to:
- Put up a fence
- Park on their neighbor’s property
- Use a neighbor’s driveway or private road for vehicular or pedestrian access
- Lay down electrical wires
Negotiating an easement
It can be difficult for two parties to come to agreement when it comes to the use of one party’s land. People are often reluctant to let anyone else use their land, especially on a regular basis. Consider the following when negotiating an easement.
Easements can be a burden
If you are looking to secure an easement on a neighbor’s land, it is important to remember that the easement may be a physical and legal burden to them. The mere use of the land, no matter how seemingly minimal it is, may still cause physical damage to the property or inconvenience to the landowner. The easement may even negatively impact your neighbor’s property values.
Easements can be temporary
During the negotiation process, it also important to note that not all easements can or should last forever. Some easements are only necessary for a short period of time and are typically much easier to negotiate than permanent easements.
Easements require maintenance
As the holder of the easement, or the person planning to use it, you may be given the responsibility of maintaining it. Failure to properly maintain the easement could cause you to lose your easement rights. In some cases, both parties will contribute to the maintenance costs, but this will be part of the negotiations.
The original purpose of an easement matters
Easement owners also often have the power to perform repairs on the easement and even add improvements but must make sure their work does not interfere with the holder’s use of the easement. It is also important to continue using the easement for the purpose it was intended.
An attorney specializing in land use and zoning issues can be extremely helpful when negotiating an easement. If you are seeking to use a neighbor’s property for a specific purpose, it may be in your best interest to consult with an attorney before taking action.